WHO recommends Punjab to enforce strict lockdown

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has written a letter to the Government of Punjab to suggest enforcement of a strict two-week lockdown in the province to contain the rampant spread of coronavirus.

WHO appreciated the provincial government’s efforts in response to the pandemic, but also recommended that the provincial government “adopts the two weeks off and two weeks on strategy as it offers the smallest curve.”

The letter read that: “Government intervention on April 12th 2020 detailing social distancing measures including restrictions, closure of schools and businesses, international travel restrictions and geographical area restrictions were instituted with the aim of limiting the spread of the disease.”

WHO highlighted that the number of coronavirus cases increased after the federal government eased the lockdown in the country. “SOPs need to be strictly enforced to stem the spread of the virus,” and the “cases increasing beyond 100,000 in Pakistan is a cause for concern” said the letter.

WHO recommends six conditions for any government to start lifting lockdown restrictions:

  1. Disease transmission is under control
  2. Health system can “detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact”
  3. Hot spot risks are minimized in vulnerable places, such as nursing homes
  4. Schools, workplaces and other essential places have established preventive measures
  5. The risk of importing new cases “can be managed”
  6. Communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to live under a new normal

WHO also recommends strengthening all public health measures such as quarantine, isolation, physical distancing and contact tracing, and developing testing capacity beyond 50,000 tests/day.